It will be located in the Canary Islands
Spain, and more specifically the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, is the place chosen by Nueva Pescanova to open what will be the first octopus farm in the world. Details are still being designed, but it is estimated that the facilities will open in 2023, with a total investment of € 65 million and the creation of 300 jobs, 150 of them direct jobs with highly qualified personnel, and another 150 indirect jobs. The farm is expected to be at full capacity in 2026, with a production of 3,000 tons per year.
This opening sets a milestone in aquaculture, as it is the first time that an industrial project for the farming of this species will be carried out. All this is possible thanks to a group of researchers from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, whose patent to develop the captive breeding of the species “octopus vulgaris” was acquired by Nueva Pescanova in mid-2019. The project is currently going through the environmental impact validation process and the Government of the Canary Islands has assured that, if it complies with the regulations, it will obtain the permit for its implementation.
Some Spanish animal activist groups, and some scientists too, have been against the installation of this farm because they consider the octopus to be an intelligent animal. The company assures that at this moment there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that, and emphasizes that they have been investigating and controlling the level of stress of octopuses in captivity for years. Based on the research already carried out by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, a team of 20 people is working in Nueva Pescanova facilities in Galicia where, in addition to reproducing the animal five times outside its wild environment, they have found that, with the right conditions, the animals coexist perfectly without any kind of territoriality or attacks among them.
The design of the farm is the result of this research work and will be specifically designed to provide the octopuses with optimal growth conditions. In the facilities there will be 3 or 4 types of pools with certain conditions and temperature depending on the size of the animals, guaranteeing that at the end of the cycle they will be spaces with a large volume of water. Therefore, Nueva Pescanova emphasizes that it is perfectly compatible for the animal to be in cultivation conditions with an aquaculture activity.
Octopus is one of the most fashionable delicacies nowadays, but the fishing grounds are overexploited, so the solution of farming the species in aquaculture seems to be a good option for the market. The company’s objective is to produce a premium octopus, of very high quality, with the most demanding certificates and all the guarantees.
With more than 10,000 employees in four continents, Nueva Pescanova is a Spanish multinational specializing in fishing, farming, processing, and marketing of seafood products. The company is one of the few seafood multinationals present throughout the entire value chain, from origin to sale.